manofjustice wrote:Lumping 11-20 along with BU/BC/Fordham, etc., makes sense. The "large firm score" on Law School Transparency for many of these schools is almost the same. And in the end, "large firm score" correlates pretty well to 160 + bonus starting salary (if it excluded 50-100 lawyer firms, it would correlate better, but proportionally few graduates at any school usually go to firms of such size). As you'll see from the schools that release their full NALP reports, almost every job in 200+ lawyer firms, and most jobs in 100-200 lawyer firms, are 160 + bonus (or 145 + bonus in "secondary markets").
You make the mistake I was warning against: you say that the 160 + bonus jobs are in NYC and you want a T10/14 to get to NYC. The mistake is made on both counts. The 160 + bonus jobs are not just in NYC, and you don't need a T10/14 to get to NYC. The V20 jobs are in NYC. You want a T10/14 to go to NYC and get a V20. Outside the V20, the 160 + bonus jobs can be found in NYC and other parts of the country by graduates of most of the 11-20. Some of these schools, like Boston College and Vandy, will send a large portion of their graduates to NYC to get these jobs while sending the rest to the top of other markets. Others won't send hardly any to NYC, including schools you regard as being among the first in the 11-20, USC and UCLA.
The base salary is pretty stable across about the top 80 to 100 firms. That "snowball's chance in hell" of making partner at a V20 is actually the principle reason to pay sticker at a T10/14. That's not uncommon. Check this: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/26/magazine/why-are-harvard-graduates-in-the-mailroom.html A lot of labor markets are "lotteries" offering a chance at fabulous riches but not much else. It's partially rational, but obviously risky (if you're paying a lot for the chance), and it causes large disparities between the winners and the losers (especially between the losers who paid a lot and the winners who had scholarships). The "market" for V20 is a lottery, offering no greater base salary, a slightly higher bonus (again, Wachtell is the exception, but they will work you nearly to death, perhaps twice as much as even Cravath) but a chance to pull 5 million a year as a partner, along with a million a year pension at 60.
Are you and I looking at the same data? There's generally a 15-20% difference between schools ranked 11-14 (e.g. Cornell/NU/Duke) and the best of those ranked 19 and below (e.g. BU/BC/Fordham). This is in no way "almost the same." It gets even more exacerbated when you account for the clerkship disparity between these schools, lower T14's having 8-12%-ish and those below 19 usually having less than 5%.
You're making the mistake of conflating possibility with probability. I don't dispute that there are market paying firms outside of NYC. I'm also not disputing that it's possible to get NYC without going to a T14. My point is that it's difficult on both counts. NYC has the vast majority of market paying jobs. So it is often far easier to get one in NYC than it is to get one in SF/Seattle/ATL/Indy/etc. On top of that, NYC firms generally recruit very heavily at the T14 schools making it much easier to get out of those schools than those ranked below them. Coupling these together means that people's best shot at getting corporate work generally comes with going to a T14.
What I'm not saying is that people have to go to NYC. Personally I would rather not work in NYC. But if you really want to do corporate work then you are going to dramatically increase your odds if you are willing to work there.
And whose principal reason are you referring to? I'm fairly sure that making partner is a very rare reason for coming to law school among my classmates, though I have not taken a poll or anything. I'm not saying that they don't want it, but I am saying that I doubt many of them came here because of it.